DISCLAIMER: From the napkins of Michele Abbot and Kathy Greenberg through the mind of Ilene Chaiken, I obviously do not own The L Word. If I did, it wouldn't have ever come to an end. This is part of the Dog Days of Summer 2009 Advent Calendar. Spoilers through the series finale and interrogation tapes. Thanks go to my beta: mysensitiveside.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Bette always knew what to say, but she never knew how to say it. Coming out of the interrogation with Sergeant Duffy, the only thing she could focus on was searching herself to try and figure out the answer to why. Why hadn't she told Tina she wanted to carry their next child? Why had she told a perfect stranger what she couldn't tell Tina? Or why couldn't she fully admit to herself until the words came tumbling out in a rambling retrospect of her relationship with Tina that she did, in fact, need to tell Tina the truth?
"Tina, I need to tell you something," Bette suddenly announced on their drive home. Tina's eyes darted up to meet Bette's, who had turned to look at her while sitting at a red light. Concern washed over Tina's face as she realized that whatever forced Bette to speak up was almost dire. Tina could read it in her partner's eyes.
"What's wrong, honey?" Tina reached out and put a hand on the back of Bette's neck in encouragement. "You know you can tell me anything."
"I don't know if I can tell you this," Bette said, holding back tears. She didn't want to cry. Not now, not ever. Crying made her weak, made her vulnerable, and while she felt more vulnerable than ever, she knew she had to find a way to overcome it. For her sake, for Tina's sake. For the future of their family.
"Why don't you pull over there?" It was rare for Bette to cry, especially in front of Tina. This wasn't lost on the blonde, who pulled her hand away and pointed up ahead. "We'll talk. Whatever it is, baby We'll get through it."
Bette took a deep breath, closed her eyes momentarily to wash away her bleary vision. She barely nodded but followed Tina's instruction, pulled over and put the car in park. She turned the engine off and put her hands back on the steering wheel, knuckles turning white from her grip on it.
I want to have our baby. I want to carry our baby; I want the morning sickness, the doctor's visits, the swelling and the weight gain. I want to feel our baby kicking, him or her moving around inside me.
"Bette What is it? You're scaring me " Tina took her seatbelt off and shifted slightly in her seat so she was semi-facing the driver's seat. Bette was focused on the car parked in front of her, trying to keep her breath even. She wanted to make a fist and punch out the window; she wanted to do anything but say what she needed to say.
I want to have him or her. I want us to name him. I want to watch as my body changes, as my body becomes something else entirely. I want to give birth, with the agony and all that comes with it.
"Bette, sweetheart," Tina reached out, and Bette practically took out the window she'd envisioned when she jumped in her seat and brought her left hand up off the steering wheel. She balled it into a fist, closed her eyes again and then relaxed slightly into the seat. She took off her own seatbelt, feeling stifled by it and the confines of the car.
The next thing Tina knew Bette was getting out of the car. By the time she slammed the door, Tina, too, was out of the car and watching Bette curiously as she set her palms on the roof of the car and faced her.
"I want to carry our next child, Tina." She'd finally had the courage to say it aloud. And it was all she had to say.
"What?" Tina's face went blank when it registered in her head exactly what Bette had said to her. "What What did you say?"
"I want to have our next baby. I want to carry him or her. I want to be the one that takes on that burden and brings that life into the world. Into our world." Bette hesitated when she realized Tina was simply staring at her. Her expression was blank; she couldn't tell what Tina was thinking and it terrified her. "Tina?"
"Bette I " Tina was at a loss for words. Never had it actually occurred to her that Bette would want to carry their next child. Not even for a second. Bette took pride in being the provider, the breadwinner, the "husband" in their relationship.
That's when it hit Tina. In all the years she'd been with Bette, through the good and the bad, she'd taken for granted that Bette was her rock. Her constant. Now, Bette wanted to stand up and reverse the tables.
"Tina, say something," Bette practically pleaded. Now, she was crying. She was crying where anyone could walk by and see the tears fall down her cheeks, could see her fall apart. Bette was more than ready for this, and Tina was more in love with her than she'd ever been.
"I love you," was all Tina said at first. She hurried to the other side of the car, turned Bette around and wrapped her arms tightly around her shoulders. She held Bette tightly, whispering "I love you" over and over again until Bette stopped crying and pulled away.
Bette just smiled at Tina, holding both her hands. She brought one up to her lips, kissed it gently and took a small breath before speaking, a little more assured that she'd managed to finally do the right thing.
"I want to give you the same gift you gave me when Angelica was born. I know I want to do this, and I've never been more ready to do anything in my life. I love you, Tina. I love you and Angelica and I'm going to love our little boy or girl just as much."
"We're going to get married first," Tina beamed, bringing a hand up and stroking Bette's cheek. "We're going to have our wedding, and then we're going to go for it. We'll do whatever it takes. I love you, Bette. I love you and our daughter so much, and all I want to do is have a family with you."
"Whatever it takes," Bette nodded, more sure of herself than ever. She knew that whatever happened next, whatever life threw their way, she'd be ready. There were no more secrets, no more lies. No matter what had happened to Jenny and how Duffy's investigation panned out, Bette and Tina were on equal ground. It only took six years and one death to finally get there.
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